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Which is more likely to lead to type 2 diabetes: A diet of white rice or bread?

Is white rice one possible cause of metabolic syndrome in dieters? India has the highest type 2 diabetes rate in the world, followed by China. Both of these nations use white rice, not brown rice. See the article, Diabetes facts. Or is the epidemic more about too much processed bread, cookies, and cake? Or the type of starches consumed? You also may wish to check out the site, "Adding folic acid to bread flour could prevent countless family tragedies."

Which is more likely to lead to type 2 diabetes: A diet of white rice or bread?
Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images

See the article, Study warns of growing Metabolic syndrome epidemic in China. How much carbohydrate does one need? Experts advise consuming about 50 to 60 percent of one's total daily calories from carbohydrates, mostly complex carbohydrates, and no more than 30 percent of calories from fat. What happens to the rice polish with all the vitamin B contents or the rice bran? It's packaged and sold globally.

Under the globalization process of type 2 diabetes, Asia is the major site of a rapidly emerging diabetes epidemic. More than 60% of the world’s population with diabetes will come from Asia. India and China remain the two countries with the highest predicted numbers of people with diabetes (79.4 million and 42.3 million, respectively) by 2030, notes the editorial (PDF format) from the Asian Association for the Study of Diabetes and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty, "Changing characteristics of the type 2 diabetes epidemic of China and other Asian count," appearing in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation Volume 4 Issue 3 May 2, 2013.

That editorial also mentions four other countries in Asia: Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines will accompany China and India in becoming one of the top 10 countries with the highest diabetes prevalence. Ironically, the updated prevalence of diabetes of these countries is 4.8% in Indonesia, 6% in Pakistan, 8.1% in Bangladesh and 5.1% in the Philippines.

Is it the diet that includes white rice and noodle products that is contributing toward the diabetes statistics? Or is it another factor. The editorial notes that Asia remains the world’s most populous region, and the world population is expected to reach 7.9 billion by 2025. What the editorial from the Asian Association for the Study of Diabetes and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty, "Changing characteristics of the type 2 diabetes epidemic of China and other Asian count," appearing in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation Volume 4 Issue 3 May 2, 2013 also points out is that the number of subjects with diabetes and IGT in these Asian countries will increase substantially in the coming decade. For more information on geographic data, you also can refer to the Diabetes Atlas.

The USA has a rapidly rising metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes rate among the young and middle-aged population

Could the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes epidemic in part be increased by eating white rice instead of the more expensive brown rice? See the article, Waist circumference measurement identifies metabolic syndrome. In the case of white rice, there is nothing slowing it down causing a sudden spike in blood glucose. Is the overconsumption of white rice, bread, and soda in part causing the problems? See how high white is on the Glycemic Index.

White rice or any other carboyhydrate does not cause type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. It's how your individual genes, your body's response to any combination of food reacts to your diet as a whole. It's an issue regarding risk. See the article, Will feeding mothers prevent the Asian metabolic syndrome epidemic?

The USA's diabetes rates are rapidly rising, due to genetic predisposition, obesity, inactivity, and diet, especially among a variety of ethnic groups. First you have to separate type 1 from type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease.

Also helpful is my paperback book, How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type-2 Diabetes - IUniverse. You also can listen to my community audio lecture (free) online, How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type-2 Diabetes & Weight Issues. One helpful suggestion is to add more fiber to diets and use fruit or a pinch of stevia instead table sugar to addict kids to mostly sweet foods and beverages. For example, tepary beans are helpful for adding fiber and healthier nutrition to foods instead of fried dough-type foods.

Fiber and beans

Some people have inherited the tendency to get diabetes at younger ages than others, from eating a diet that causes too many blood sugar surges. See, How tepary beans may cut the high incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Tepary beans have been eaten for centuries by Native Americans in the Southwest. If you're not Native American, can the fiber in tepary beans also help you in the same way? Sure. Can tepary beans cut the high incidence of type 2 diabetes and weight issues in Native American children and adults, and in anyone else? Teparies have been featured in the research that Native Seeds/SEARCH is doing on the effects of a traditional diet on Type II diabetes in Native American populations. If you look at the fiber content of tepary beans, they can be of use as a high-fiber food to anyone. See, Fiber Content Chart.

Numerous research is ongoing with Native American children whose families have high numbers of type 2 diabetes from eating standard Western diets such as high-fat burgers, fries, trans-fat laden shortening, lard-fried bread, white flour, and sugar--instead of tepary beans, that grow in the Southwest and were used for centuries by Native Americans.

Tepary beans for centuries had a place as a staple in the diet of the Native Americans living in the American Southwest since cultivating beans and before most Native Americans turned to processed foods.Teparies aren't known much outside the American Southwest.

Ethnic groups with diabetes and type 2 diabetes around the world

Did you happen to notice how many more diverse ethnic groups in the USA are being felled by type 2 diabetes such as Pacific Islanders, South Asians/Indians, Chinese, and Middle Eastern peoples? And there's an increase also in type 1 diabetes, due to autoimmune issues, in the USA.

Worldwide, for example, Finland already has the highest incidence rate of type 1 diabetes worldwide. Diabetes rates differ significantly between countries, for reasons not entirely understood, with places like China and Venezuela having the lowest incidence of type 1 and Finland and Sardinia having the highest. The United States lies somewhere in between.

What about type 2 diabetes? See the June 25, 2011 Sacramento Bee article, Study: Nearly 350 million diabetics worldwide. According to that article, the number of adults worldwide with diabetes has more than doubled in three decades, jumping to an estimated 347 million, a 2011 study reported.

You can brush that statistic off by saying the population is aging, and diabetes increases with aging, particularly type 2 diabetes. Additionally, obesity is rising as well. But in populations such as South Asian Indians living in the USA, there's not so much obesity.

Most Indians are thin. Yet these thin people who type 2 diabetes have high fasting blood glucose levels. Could it have anything to do with eating white rice as a staple of the diet instead of brown or black rice? Or is it more akin to genetic predisposition to diabetes?

Thin people with type 2 diabetes

Since the rapid rise of diabetes in the USA also is a global problem, the Sacramento Bee newspaper article looked at the countries where the statistics of diabetes rose the quickest, and that was the USA as a whole. Other countries where the diabetes rate rose rapidly in recent times include Saudi Arabia, Cape Verde (an island off the W. coast of Africa) and an island that used to be relatively isolated: Papua New Guinea.

What changes in diet came to those places to cause the rapid rise in diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes in the last few years?

Western Europe doesn't have a rapid rise in diabetes. It's the third world countries, the more isolated places of the world that seem to be meeting modern civilization at faster rates than in the past.

Could it be that in Western Europe, for example Britain, the Western Europeans had genes that were pretty much used to a specific diet, whereas in Pacific Islands, India, China, or Pakistan, Western fast-food diets were coming into familiarity? And when Western or rather processed foods meets genetic predisposition that thrives well on unprocessed, indigenous foods, you get diseases of processed foods, inactivity, and obesity.

There are cases where people remain thin but still get diabetes, such as in China or India

Could it be a steady diet of white rice, starchy legumes, or starches from bread and sugars or foods that rapidly turn to starch and sugar, such as white rice and white flour with table sugar instead of fruit? Women in Singapore, France, Italy and Switzerland remained relatively slim and had virtually no change in their diabetes rates. Numbers also stayed flat in sub-Saharan Africa, central Latin American, and in the richer Asian countries.

Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes and is often tied to obesity. It develops when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to break down glucose, inflating blood sugar levels. The disease can be managed with diet, exercise and medication but chronically high blood sugar levels causes neuropathy and other degenerative disease issues.

It was Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization that paid for the study which was published June 24, 2011 in the journal Lancet

Now the question for the USA is why do Asians, blacks and Hispanics have a higher predisposition to diabetes? Is it genetic or nutrition-related? When you look nationally at diverse ethnic groups, many of the Asians are not obese but still have type 2 diabetes. What's causing it in these thin, active people? Food? Or genes?

The Asians with type 2 diabetes are not as obese as people of European descent when they are diagnosed with diabetes. If you look at Chinese ethnic groups in the USA or in China and Indians, they are thin, but you have to see whether they store their fat around their waistlines.

Apple-shaped people gain weight mainly around the middle/abdomen instead of on the hips and thighs

If they have a protruding belly (pot belly) then they may have a genetic predisposition to get diabetes if their inactivity and diet is set up in a certain way so that abdominal fat sends hormones out into the bloodstream to speed up diabetes. You can be thin with the tendency to gain weight on your belly or waistline that puts you more at risk to develop diabetes, even though you don't have any fat on your hips and thighs or have a narrow or concave chest.

What the nation's diverse ethnic groups want to know is how to reverse diabetes. Regarding another type of diabetes, the autoimmune form, type 1 diabetes, see the CTV article, "Low-cost vaccine could reverse juvenile diabetes." This article also ran in the Sacramento Bee on June 25, 2011. Also see another June 22, 2011 Sacramento Bee article, Advocates, 150 Children With Type 1 Diabetes Urge FDA to Enable Critical Research on Life-Saving Artificial Pancreas to Move Forward.

In the Sacramento Bee article, Kevin Kline and four children with type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune disease, urged the FDA to accelerate research and review of of artificial pancreas systems at a hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. The hearing, "Transforming Lives through Diabetes Research," was part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's (JDRF) 2011 Children's Congress, a biennial, three-day event aimed to raise awareness for type 1 diabetes and the importance of Congressional leadership to help accelerate research to cure, treat and prevent the disease, according to the June 22, 2011 Sacramento Bee article.

At the same time, in another article, research revealed that clinical trials in their earliest stages are showing that type 1 diabetes possibly can be reversed by a drug uses in the past to treat TB. See the CTV article, "Low-cost vaccine could reverse juvenile diabetes." According to the CTV article, an 80-year old TB vaccine could be a cure for type 1 diabetes.

One interesting point is that this study doesn't yet have the support of major drug companies because it uses a generic drug that costs very little. So who will step forward now and foot the bills for further research or clinical trials to see how long the pancreas will function normally after the TB drug is used?

The question remains whether drug companies only look at medicines that will generate more income than the treatment of the disease. If a drug costs only $15 per treatment, will the big pharmacy industry support it?

What decision will the FDA take when the drug may work but costs little? The clinical trials will tell in the future, if enough of the required funding keeps coming in to continue to clinical trials.

Check out the CTV article because it's about a drug that won't generate much money. It's just a low-cost tuberculosis vaccine that's been in use for decades. But will it now get new life as a treatment for juvenile diabetes -- with preliminary research showing it could reverse the disease?

According to the CTV article, some scientists in Boston scientists have been testing bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BSG), a vaccine used for more than eight decades to prevent tuberculosis, on people with Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes.

The problem is for the drug companies to reproduce a drug, would it have to make money for the companies and be expensive? This drug only costs $15 per dose, and with minor side effects, the vaccine may offer hope of an insulin-free future to many with the disease.

In patients with autoimmune or juvenile diabetes, immune system cells enter the pancreas and destroy insulin-producing cells. Patients take daily insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar levels.

One study consisted of researchers giving six long-term diabetics two injections of BCG each over a month, hoping it would eliminate the white blood cells targeting the pancreas. Another group of subjects was given a placebo vaccine, and all patients were subject to weekly blood tests over the next twenty weeks.

Five months later, blood tests of those given the shots -- who had previously been on insulin for about 15 years -- showed their bodies were producing small amounts of insulin on their own. So if the drug works, will it be available to type 1 diabetics in Sacramento? It's only in its early clinical trials now, in Boston.

What scientists are seeing is that it's a possibility that the pancreas may regenerate. The drug may be removing bad white cells to start the process of disease reversal. For further infomation, you can search the archives of the annual meetings of the American Diabetes Association.

At this early stage, in one study, insulin was restored for about a week in the majority of patients, from no levels to levels that were statistically significant

The problem is all these tests are in a very early stage of research. On the good side, there's a chance the pancreas can regenerate. Another test with mice showed similar results to the test with humans.

The big question is whether the drug will help the pancreas heal itself. More study and clinical trials are needed to see how long the effects last. Will the USDA approve of the next level of testing? Researchers hope to begin a larger study, and are designing the trial to meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

They are also raising funds for the study, which does not have drug company sponsorship because it focuses on a generic drug. So it's all about following the money. If Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization funded this early test, who will be stepping in next to pay the bills as the clinical trials progress? Also check out the site, "Tuberculosis Vaccine Could Cure Type 1 Diabetes."

Napping and blood glucose levels

On the other hand, the University of California, Davis also studied napping in relation to type 2 diabetes risk from high fasting blood glucose levels. For example, napping in the daytime is a frequent practice in China. China has one of the highest type 2 diabetes rates in the world along with India. Check out the article, Frequent napping is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

To prove a nap or siesta helps, you could take a mental stress test. Also check out the article published March 2, 2011 by Robert Preidt, published in Business Week's Health Day magazine online, "Napping May Keep Blood Pressure in Check." Also read the study's abstract in the International Journal of Behaviorial Medicine, Daytime Sleep Accelerates Cardiovascular Recovery after Psychological Stress.

Did you ever notice that in some European countries, such as Spain offices and stores close for a siesta between 2 pm and 4 pm and then open at 5 pm only to close for the evening at 8 pm, when people have a late meal? Not that a late meal is healthy, but if you sleep between 2 and 3 pm and eat your evening meal between 3:30 and 4 pm, at least you'd have the health benefit of having your largest meal during the daytime instead of at an evening dinner. When you go to sleep for the night, your digestion slows down.

The finding about taking a nap in the daytime to lower your blood pressure comes from a study that involved 85 healthy university students, divided into two groups

One group in the study had an hour-long period during the day to sleep, and the others had no time to sleep. Both groups were given a mental stress test. Blood pressure and pulse rates increased in both groups of students when they took the stress test, but the average blood pressure of those who slept for at least 45 minutes was significantly lower after the stress test than it was for those who did not sleep.

Researchers need to investigate just how daytime sleep is linked to better cardiovascular health. But people who have taken a siesta nap in the afternoon for generations will often tell you they feel a recuperative, protective effect. It could help if you have any cardiovascular risk factors or if you're not sleeping well, for example, due to menopausal hormone changes.

According to the study, "on average, Americans get nearly two hours less sleep a night than they did 50 years ago, which could affect long-term health, according to background information." The study was published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, on March 1, 2011. Also see the website for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and check out the article on sufficient sleep.

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